Blog

Covid 19 TF Update

Dear Colleagues,
The COVID-19 Task Force met very briefly Thursday, June 30th 2022. I was not able to attend the meeting today due to a work conflict, but here are the notes that were shared with me. If you have any clarifying questions, please let us know.Status Update:Case rate volatility (7-day case rate per 100K population in Hennepin):

  • Wednesday, June 8: 315
  • Wednesday, June 15: 241
  • Wednesday, June 22: 137 (Current Dashboard)
  • Tuesday, June 28:    281

Overall, MN cases continue slow decline:

MN Covid 19 Cases per year
Rate of change for MN cases and hospitalization
Variant frequency in Twin Cities wastewater
Covid load in Twin Cities metro wastewater

Other updates
Very close to automating email responses to COVID form submissions.Nearly 300 new student vaccination cards uploaded (esp. during SOAR) and recorded.
CDC changed definition of “up to date” on vaccinations for those 50 and older to include two boosters MDH meeting next Wednesday, July 6.Charts retrieved from: https://mpr-news.github.io/covid-data/dashboard.html

We also set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We did not receive any questions this week.Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.

Covid 19 TF Update

retrieved from: https://mpr-news.github.io/covid-data/dashboard.html

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 Task Force meeting has been cancelled for this week. Here are updates the COVID Task Force was sent in replacement of a meeting time:

  • As reported in the June 9 meeting and as shown on the Dashboard, the 7-day case rate in Hennepin County rose back above 300 per 100,000 population as of Wednesday, June 7. It has since declined slowly to the low 200s, as has Ramsey County.
  • The 2022 line in the graph above shows how the overall case rate trend in MN has flattened after declining a bit from mid/late May.

We also set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We did not receive any questions this week.Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.

The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.

Covid 19 TF Update

Dear Colleagues,
The COVID-19 Task Force met on 6/9/22. Here are the latest updates:
Dashboard update

  • During the first week of June Hennepin and Ramsey counties moved from a medium to a low community level. 
  • Both counties reported a 7-day case rate of fewer than 200 COVID cases per 100,000 population on last week’s report date (6/1). 
  • 7-day case rates have since risen back above 200/100K. The Memorial Day holiday affected these data, with an artificial drop resulting from far fewer people getting tested on the holiday Monday, followed by a “catch-up” spike after Memorial Day dropped out of the 7-day case count. 

Front-line worker pay

  • Application period June 8-July 22. 
  • HR will be posting notices across campus and reaching out to specific departments.
  • Will post on Outbreak Planning, Inside Augsburg, and share via A-mail.

Final CampusClear data

SOAR plans

  • Since there is currently no mask mandate on campus, masks will not be required at SOAR.

Minnesota Private College Council Campus Update

  • A quick share of other campus COVID plans for fall was discussed in the MPCC meeting. Overall, some campuses plan to have fewer or reduced COVID plans in the fall and some plan to continue to have some COVID precautions in place.
  • During the COVID task force meeting, it was not discussed what impact other campuses plans have on Augsburg’s fall planning at this time. 

We also set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We did not receive any questions this week.Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.

The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.

Covid 19 Task Force Update

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 Task Force met on Thursday, May 5th. May 19th will be the next scheduled time that the task force will meet. Here are the notes from the meeting:

MDH Updates

  • Revised IHE Guidance to align with CDC Community Levels, incorporate the previous “scenarios” document
  • The COVID 19 Task Force will review scenario recommendations for discussion at our next meeting on May 19th 
  • MDH will survey COVID coordinators later this month to evaluate effectiveness of reporting change, collect information on fall plans, and evaluate communications between MDH and institutions going forward
  • Next MDH call will be June 1; no calls planned for July

Dashboard update

  • 7-day case rate in Hennepin County reached medium community level on April 29, but this won’t be reflected on CDC website until today; 7-day growth rate continues to slow (but cases are still growing)
  • Minneapolis issued a recommendation that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors
  • On-campus case numbers have increased but are still low
  • Will update dashboard reporting to align more clearly with the revised IHE Guidance in the coming weeks

CampusClear stats

  • End of term slide continues – fewer app uses in April vs March vs Feb
  • Who is using it remains consistent, 60% students and about 20% / 20% staff and faculty
  • This is the final month of the campus clear app

We also set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We did not receive any questions this week.

Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.

The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.

Covid 19 Task Force Update

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 Task Force meeting was canceled for this week due to there being no MDH meeting. May 5th will be the next scheduled time that the task force will meet. However, here are the latest notes Rebecca John sent on community level tracking:

  • As of Tuesday, April 26, cases in Hennepin and Ramsey counties are still in the low range per CDC (<200 per 100K population)
  • Cases are still growing, but at a slightly lower rate this week. 
    • Case rates could move into the medium level by the end of the week. 
    • At the medium level, CDC recommends that people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease talk to a healthcare provider about whether they need to wear a mask and take other precautions.
  • If the community rate moves to the medium level later this week:
    • The April 30 Dashboard will report that change
    • Messaging about the medium community level, with a link to the Dashboard, will be posted in A-mail and sent out via email early next week
    • Augsburg will post signage at major events next week (commencement, Board Meeting, campaign kick off event) noting that the region is at a moderate level and those with high risks should consider precautions, including wearing a mask indoors or in crowded spaces
  • Augsburg will not be implementing any new or additional mitigation protocols if/when the regional community rate moves to moderate. This is consistent with CDC guidance. 

In the meantime, we set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We did not receive any questions this week.Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.

The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.

Saturday’s Rally

Dear Colleagues,

Saturday’s rally was an incredible showing of solidarity. Our resolve to finish this contract with a living wage and affordable healthcare was on full display for the community to see.

We heard moving speeches from staff and student leaders that touched on all aspects of how austerity affects them at Augsburg: A staff member rationing medical care because they can’t afford it; A student feeling like they have no representation in essential staff services; Departments being asked to cover for vacancies in ways that go far beyond their job descriptions and expertise; Potential applicants walking away from their dream jobs here because they can’t support their families with what’s offered; Students watching staff they built trust with have to leave after just a semester or two, and wondering if anyone will be hired to replace them.

The problem is clear to us. Staff turnover is catastrophically high. It impacts us–our workloads double or triple with no additional compensation or title change. It impacts students–they are left without vital support services. Staff leave because we are not supported.

President Pribbenow, stop the bleeding. We need to offer competitive wages and affordable healthcare. We cannot continue calling ourselves a progressive institution while also offering healthcare that ranks dead last in affordability amongst our peer institutions. The proposals that we have on the table are progressive and aim to keep and attract staff. Our proposals build structures for collaboration and growth for the whole campus community.

We will continue to show our solidarity until this contract is finished. Whether it’s a rally or a petition or simply using a Zoom background, one thing has remained clear: we’re not going anywhere. Our support for our union is just as strong as it was when we won it one year, three months, and 18 days ago.

Stay tuned.

Here are some wonderful pictures of our rally taken by friend of our union, Marc Hardaker!

Covid 19 TF Update

Dear Colleagues,The COVID-19 Task Force met this week on April 21st. Here are the notes from the meeting:

Minnesota Department of Health Updates

  • Community level: Minnesota remains low
  • Federal judge voided CDC’s mask mandate for public transit, which was to last through May 3; CDC continues to recommend masking on mass transit
  • Shared studies on increased cardiovascular risk for up to a year after having COVID
  • COVID-19 treatments now widely available for people at high risk of severe disease, but requires advanced planning because it needs to be taken early after testing positive

Dashboard Updates

  • Community transmission level remains low, but growth rate is increasing
  • Wastewater surveillance also showing uptick in the prevalence of the virus in the metro area
  • At Friday’s growth rate (7-day avg vs prior week), would expect cases in Hennepin County reach moderate community level by end of April
  • On campus, cases among students remain very low

Testing and vaccine on campus

  • Final vaccine event yesterday
  • Final on-campus testing event today
  • There are a few leftover vault tests (can be used until Dec. 31)- Going to be available in the library for pick up by tomorrow, April 22nd

Student Vaccine Policy Status

  • The benefit of continuing the vaccine policy for students (i.e., upload vaccination info or submit vaccination exemption form) is a higher percentage of vaccinated students over time
  • Collecting the data:
    • Will need to continue to have students upload their vaccination information because we need info such as dates, boosters 
    • Current vaccination policy relies on K-12 records of in-state students, which does not include SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations 
    • Hoping to make is as convenient for new students as possible by starting to communicate this summer, giving them more lead time to upload their info 
  • It was stated in the meeting that it is currently not recommended to continue to use account holds for students out of compliance with the policy; will rely primarily on reminders

Future meetings

  • Consider shifting to every other week to align with the MDH briefing schedule
  • In the meeting today, we agreed to continue to have the meeting time blocked on our calendars each week at this time in case something changes with the case rate in the next few weeks.

We set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We did not receive any questions this week.

Please note, urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.

The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.

Covid 19 TF Update

Dear Colleagues, 

The COVID-19 Task Force meeting was cancelled for last week. April 21st will be the next scheduled time that the task force will meet. At the next meeting, one item that will be discussed is whether these meetings will be moved to every other week in order to align with the updates from the Minnesota Department of Health.  In the meantime, we set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We received the following question this week: 

  • Q: Which vaccine will be given at the April 20 vaccine event, Pfizer or Moderna? 
  • A: Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available at the event. 

Additionally, urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.   The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.

Auggies Against Austerity Rally

Dear Colleagues,


Please join us on Saturday, April 23rd as we hold a rally to tell the administration that we want to finish this contract!
The rally will be in Murphy Square from 11 am to 1 pm on April 23rd.
Please fill out this form to confirm you are going: https://forms.gle/Vh7UHCL7G8KmQnkp9
Here is the Facebook event for the rally: https://fb.me/e/3Riue4NEf
Friends, family, neighbors, students, and faculty are invited!


Why are we rallying?
Bargaining is going on too long and the administration’s positions are untenable. The Administration’s wage proposal would result in a paltry increase to only four positions represented by our union, and includedonly a 1% annual raise for three years. The administration’s healthcare counter proposal is nonexistent. They think that our healthcare costs are fine as is. Take a look at how just our family plan stacks up to local colleges and other private ELCA colleges:

Needless to say, the administration’s vision cannot go into our contract. Our Staff Union and our contract should reflect our shared vision for us to thrive and work now and into the future. We’re disappointed in the Administration’s resistance to our progressive proposals throughout bargaining. We want to work together. We want to build a better Augsburg together. We’ve seen that they want to merely keep things the way they were. This is not sustainable.
We know from our union siblings across the country, and from history, that when we show solidarity–when we rally together–we move forward. 
We will make gains with this contract. We will build a better Augsburg, together! 
Join us to rally on Saturday, April 23rd. It will be a day of joy and solidarity!

Covid 19 task force update

Dear Colleagues, 

The COVID-19 Task Force met this week on April 7th. Here are the notes from the meeting: 

Minnesota Department of Health Updates

  • COVID rates remain low. For week of 3/6 (most recent available statewide data) 25% of MN specimens identified as BA.2. Initial data (Feb. 2022) suggests BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1, but the difference appears to be much smaller than the difference between Delta and BA.1.
  • In higher education, MDH is not seeing a lot of cases – no clusters/outbreaks in higher ed in the last couple of weeks. Campus cases continue here and there (not zero) but are pretty quiet currently. 
  • MDH will not be updating general events and gathering guidance; deferring to CDC.
  • Updated guidance for youth programs and summer camps
  • Overview of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Testing Master Contract Program
  • Federal funding supporting testing at IHEs will continue through June 30; possible extension unclear at this time

Dashboard Updates

  • All data were low in the 4/2 report – regional transmission declines have leveled off but no sign of a surge at this point
  • In the metro area, wastewater surveillance indicates that the omicron BA.2 variant has been the dominant variant since late March.

Testing and vaccine on campus

  • Testing events on campus will continue on Mondays and Thursdays, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., through April 21.
  • Vaccine events March 30 and April 20
  • 32 people (including 21 Augsburg students) got shots at first event
  • Everyone got a $50 gift card, plus the students who won the drawing got an additional $25.
  • On April 20, will also be able to administer a second booster to those who are eligible:
  • People age 50 years and older.
  • People age 12-49 years who have certain immunocompromising conditions.
  • People age 18 and older who received Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for their initial dose and booster dose.
  • In addition to the above listed criteria, it needs to be at least four months since receiving the first booster.

Campus Clear Update

  • Continued slight declining use of app. Usual slide down towards end of semester.
  • Who is using it staying consistent for last few months (faculty/staff/student ratios).
  • Only April and May are left to use CampusClear.

Student COVID vaccine mandate for fall

  • Will coordinate with Admissions and Student Affairs (and keeping Registrar’s Office in the loop) to confirm the process for new students to provide COVID vaccination verification.
  • Goal is to leverage existing outreach and make the process as streamlined for students as possible while still providing COVID-specific info as needed. 

We set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We did not receive any questions this week.  

Please note, urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.   

The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.